While it is easy to lump together accountants and tax specialists, these financial professionals play distinct roles that ensure efficient personal or corporate financial management. As you weigh which type of professional to work with, consider your specific needs and the level of training each possesses.
A tax specialist may have a deeper understanding of individual and business taxes, particularly when it comes to tax laws that are constantly changing. In general, they focus on preparing tax returns and identifying credits, deductions and other ways that you can save money during the course of the year. They may also be able to help with larger accounting tasks such as auditing, reporting and budgeting.
In contrast, a general accountant can handle all of these responsibilities, plus more, such as analysing the performance of businesses and helping them to create budgets, forecasts, and plans for future growth. They are also qualified to assist with tax compliance and provide advice on a range of other issues, such as preparing financial reports and statements, managing cash flow, advising on accounting processes and systems, and providing general financial guidance.
Accountants and tax specialists can offer you a more comprehensive service in their respective areas of expertise, but you should also look into other options, such as an enrolled agent (EA). An EA is a person who has passed rigorous IRS exams and is licensed by the federal government to represent individuals or businesses in audits, appeals, collections, and other tax-related matters.
Regardless of which type of professional you choose, make sure that they are properly qualified and insured. You should also consider the degree of interaction that you want to have with your chosen accountant or specialist tax adviser, ensuring that this fits well with your own working style and preferences. For example, if you enjoy meeting new people and collaborating with others in a variety of settings, you might be better suited to working with a general accountant.
If you are still unsure about which type of financial professional to hire, consider taking a summer internship or other on-the-job opportunity with both an accountant and a specialist tax adviser. This will give you a chance to explore each specialization and see which one best suits your career goals and personal needs.
As the world of taxes can seem complex and challenging, it’s worth consulting a specialist for peace of mind and financial efficiency. A tax expert can identify a number of ways to reduce your expenses, and they are often able to offer more valuable insights than what a software program can produce. This makes them well worth the investment. If you’re ready to make the switch, contact us today for a free consultation.